- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

JENNER, Calif. (AP) - Two young girls died after their mother lost control of a pickup truck in Northern California and the vehicle plunged 40 feet into a river Tuesday.

The mother broke the driver’s window and swam to the surface of the Russian River in the coastal town of Jenner and swam to the surface screaming for help, The Press Democrat reported (https://bit.ly/2bfKoSs).

“She was just screaming in the water, ‘My babies!’” said Harry Kenney, who was nearby with his wife watching birds.

A commercial truck driver pulled over, took off his shirt and jumped into the water to try to help rescue the family to no avail. The bodies of the 4- and 7-year-old girls were found inside the submerged pickup.

The mother told California Highway Patrol investigators the truck fishtailed after she took a left turn onto Highway 1 to take her daughters to school. That area of the highway has no guardrail and officials say the area was thick with fog and the roads were wet and slippery, conditions that likely contributed to the crash, said CHP Officer Jon Sloat.

The names of the girls and their mother’s name were not yet released pending notification of their family.

“I tried to get them out, I tried to get them out,” the distraught mother, wrapped in a towel, said, while the bodies of her children remained in ambulances waiting for a coroner’s official to arrive.

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